The state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) has extended the deadline to enroll in the COVID-19 Payment Program until at least February 9. The Winter Protection Program is also now in effect.
The Winter Protection Program prevents heat utility shutoffs at eligible households during the winter months and runs from November 1, 2020 through May 1, 2020.
PURA encourages anyone having trouble paying utility bills to contact their provider to see if they have a "coded hardship" are eligible for the Winter Protection Program. If not, they can enroll in a COVID-19 Payment Program.
The program directs state-regulated gas, electric, and water public service companies to work out flexible payment plans with customers experiencing financial difficulty. It is available for residential and non-residential customers. The enrollment period was originally scheduled to end on September 30.
Those enrolled in either program cannot have their service terminated for non-payment.
Customers interested in enrolling in a plan can contact their utility provider. COVID-19 Payment Plans are available to anyone requesting assistance and customers are not required to demonstrate financial need. They require no down payment, can be up to 24 months in length, waive fees or interest in the calculation of the monthly payment, and will work to facilitate the repayment of past balances, according to PURA.